Mark Cavendish will share Grand Tours with Rigoberto Uran at Omega Pharma

Mark Cavendish must learn to share. One year after leaving team Sky for
Omega Pharma-Quick Step, the Manxman will again have to cope with his team’s dual goal at Grand Tours. The Belgian team hired Rigoberto Urán for 2014 to be an overall contender in the Giro d’Italia or Tour de France.

“The tactics of Omega Pharma-Quick Step are not the tactics of Sky,” General Manager Patrick Lefevere told Cycling Weekly. “You saw this year and last year, Sky has one leader and that’s all. That’s it. And everyone has to work with the leader. In our team, I was never working with just one leader.”

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Cavendish annulled his Sky contract two years early. He was upset with the 2012 Tour de France, where he felt he could have won more. “I realised the promise I had signed to Sky on wasn’t really a promise,” Cavendish told the Telegraph last November. “I was a back-up rider.”

He was the lead rider for Omega Pharma in many races this year, including the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France. Even if the team supported young Pole, Michal Kwiatkowski in the Tour’s overall, its focus remained on Cav winning stages. He took home two wins but was unable to beat Peter Sagan (Cannondale) for the green jersey.

The overall aim takes on more importance next year as Omega has Urán, also from team Sky. The Colombian picked up the pieces after Bradley Wiggins abandoned the Giro d’Italia and placed second to Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) this year. Lefevere said that he could race the Giro and Vuelta a España, or go for the Tour next year.

Lefevere added, “If the team is well-tuned you have to be able to do both [win sprints and ride for the classification]. Of course, you can’t take Mark Cavendish with seven helpers and put Urán alone. Some of the guys are able to give a hand to both of them.”

The sponsors invested in both areas for 2014. It hired Urán, Thomas De Gendt and Jan Bakelants, and supporting riders – Mark Renshaw and Alessandro Petacchi – for Cavendish.

“I made a huge investment with Mark and all the people around him. Everyone knows that the Tour is starting in his home. He will be very focused and very nervous,” Lefevere explained.

“I hope [Urán] will win a Grand Tour but that’s something you are never able to programme, everything has to go well. I don’t know how he’ll react when he has 100 per cent of the leadership role.”

Lefevere will help decide his riders’ programmes during a team camp this month, December 9 to 19, in Spain. Urán will race the Giro/Vuelta combo or the Tour. Either way, Cavendish – who usually races the Giro and Tour, and sometimes the Vuelta – will have to make room for the team’s new GC leader.